Construction was recently completed construction on The Loft learning space, just in time for back to school Sept. 4 at Minnetonka High School.
The Loft was built in 8,000 square feet of unused locker and shower space near the west gym of the high school, 18301 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka. Construction started in early March and ended in late August.
Paul Bourgeois, the district’s finance and operations director, said that the project cost $2.5 million for demolition and construction and $150,000 for furniture and technology.
“It’s a very nice, new collaborative space that students have loved so far,” said High School Principal Jeffrey Erickson.
A student named the Loft because the space looks like a traditional loft space with brick walls, wood flooring and a hodgepodge of furniture.
“It doesn’t look like anything in the high school and it’s a very unique space,” Erickson said. “It has a high-tech and comfortable feel to how it looks and it provides a space where students can be learning collaboratively.”
The area includes four regular-sized classrooms, one large double-sized classroom, several conference rooms and a large open study space for students.
“In the past few years, we’ve stopped buying traditional desks because the whole point of our structural framework is around creativity, collaboration, communication and an authentic learning experience,” Erickson said. “We recognize that we have to live up to these goals when we’re creating classrooms and putting the necessary furniture in them.”
Subjects that are taught in The Loft include computer science, math, English, literature, foreign languages and performance.
Erickson said that school officials would continue to add collaborative learning spaces across the high school to suit students’ needs. In the past few years, the school has conducted five projects that have added collaborative learning spaces, including Minnetonka Research, where lockers originally were located.
Erickson said that this space helps students develop collaboration skills that will be needed in the future.
“As we look at all the skills students need, they need to be able to work and collaborate with each other,” Erickson said. “So, how do we set that up so students will be able to do that? We design a space that encourages collaboration and encourages students to work together to solve real-world problems while utilizing the technology and space that’s provided.”
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